Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Study on Character

I’m very interested in Defiance the television show and somewhat interested in Defiance the game. They just came out with a live action trailer, it’s not too shabby but as I was watching it, it became clear to me that the trailer illuminated a clear lack of story focus for the video game. I don’t know how the show will play out, I hope it does well there is so little good sci-fi out there these days especially after some high profile failures like Tera Nova and Flash Forward, among others. But as I look at the game, it is a complete question mark to me.

I love the second Defiance Trailer for the television show. But the game is far murkier. As a game I know next to nothing about any of the back story. If I hadn't been interested in the show, that trailer would mean next to nothing to me; worse I wouldn't care. If you have a great story you show people that, failing a great story you need great characters, failing that you might as well start digging.

I love the Halo series; it’s one of my favorite gaming series. Halo is built on a story that borrows heavily from just about every sci-fi great author; Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, Ben Bova, and many more. In that the story is not particularly distinguishable. However, story can be similar as the saying goes ‘there is nothing new under the sun’, great characters are what separate stories from each other because it is a great character that can save an average story from mediocrity.

Stories grow old; they become redundant, weighed down under the immensity of their own mythology. Characters never die; they never grow old or out of date. It’s why the words Mulder and Scully will still bring a smile to peoples lips, its why people will still hum Darth Vader’s theme song, its why we’ll never forget Cortana, Tali, Drake and Elena, and every other memorable character long after we’ve seen the last ’the end’. Stories may last but a great character is never forgotten.

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